I Desire More Than Happiness
December 6, 2011
Lately I have noticed how much I hear the phrase “I just want them to be happy.” That phrase spreads faster than a wildfire. I have been hearing it a lot when it comes to parents talking about their children.
The parents say through tears, “I just want them to be happy.” When it is very obvious that the parent does not mean it at all. He/She is trying to convince themselves that is what they want so they can justify standing behind their child’s decision.
I may sound like a jerk when I first say this but hopefully by the end you will understand. I don’t want my son to just be happy. I don’t want anyone in my life to just be happy.
I want more.
Happiness is an emotion. It comes and goes just like the tide. Sometimes we are elated. We are excited about life and all that it has to bring. We feel we are the luckiest people alive and nothing can bring us down.
Then it happens. Some major event (and sometimes not so major) comes along and knocks us down. We feel like we are in a dark cave; can’t even see our hand in front of our face. It is cold and damp there. We have no idea which way leads out to the land of happiness we once inhabited.
Eventually, whether within a few days or it may take years, but most of the time we find our way out and visit Happiness again.
No amount of effort can keep us completely happy for our entire lives. It just will not work. But there is something greater than happiness that can stick with us no matter what.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy…”
Sometime we get the two mixed up. We think that happiness and Joy are the same thing. But they are not. As I already mentioned, happiness is an emotion. Joy on the other hand is an fruit.
Joy is something we produce because of our salvation through Jesus Christ. We express Joy in Christ.
Even when the Apostles were thrown into prison, they sang praises. Why? Because they had Joy in the one who saved them.
When the Apostles were beaten, they rejoiced! What would cause them to do that? Joy!
I’m sure neither one of these situations made the Apostles particularly happy. They were uncomfortable, in a lot of pain, or isolated from others. But they knew that their Savior was alive and had not left them, and that brought them Joy.
It fills every part of us. We can produce the fruit of Joy whether good or bad happens to us. We produce it because we know that even though we are very much a part of this world, we are a part of something so much greater.
God had such a great love for us that He sent Jesus to die in our place. The God of the universe, thought of me! That brings me Joy.
Even when bad things happen, and I am not particularly happy, I have Joy. I can lean on the Word of God and trust that He meant what He said. This gives me hope for a better future, if not soon, at some point. I can trust in Him, and that brings me Joy.
How do you find joy in every circumstance?